So, my blog has been a bit abandoned… 👉👈💧 I’m so sorry about that. I also seem to be becoming more and more of a hermit. I am sorry about that, too.
There’s been a bunch of reasons. I’ve been reading a lot (and I do mean a LOT), been kind of busy deep inside my own head, perhaps having not exactly a mid-life crisis as much as a mid-life reassessment, plus preparing for upcoming trips, and then going on them.
Let’s start with the Alaska cruise: it was amazing. When it comes to the trip’s details, this time, unlike last time, I’m making an effort to blog more about it.
To make it easier, I opted not to decorate my photos with purikura this time around, because I think that wanting to do that and not having time to do it was the main reason I didn’t properly blog about the Alaska trip last year. So, I apologize if things are a little less colorful on this post.
With that said, this will be a very long and extremely image-intensive post. So I’m posting it under a cut.
What. A. Week! The cruise with my mom got finalized –for the most part. We sail in August! Hopefully. I applied to a new job because of the few hours at the other one –and got it! I (sort of) finished Pokémon Legends Arceus, and started a new game, Grow: Song Of The Evertree.
I visited my mom and got lots of art done throughout the week. I also prepped some new outfits for my dolls. I actually don’t talk about that last bit in this post; I created a separate post for it which you can read here.
🍃🦝 WARNING! 🦝🍃
This post will contain some spoilers for Pokémon Legends: Arceus and Grow: Song Of The Evertree.
🌈 Monday 🌈
Monday was an uneventful, but busy day. In the afternoon I made time to play more Diablo II with our partner:
🌈 Tuesday 🌈
Tuesday was a weird day. On the positive end, I accomplished a TON of commission progress. I exercised, and finally got to see the credits roll in Pokémon Legends: Arceus. It is VERY frustrating that Game Freak decided not to allow the player to screenshot the end screen.
The basic “ending” feels very abrupt, which makes sense since it isn’t the “true” ending. But this is the point at which I allow myself to put down a game that, at times, I have not enjoyed very much at all. At least temporarily.
Maybe I should have known better than to pick it up, considering it was a game focused on my least favorite aspect of Pokémon (this being, catching them —I’m someone who far prefers to battle). But that I could have gotten past, perhaps… if only it was enough to catch a Pokémon once and you’re done, and if you didn’t have to deal with the ridiculousness that is the subduing of frenzied Pokémon… though I admit I found it easier as it went along.
Avalugg was particularly easy. For me, Arcanine was the hardest. But I didn’t enjoy any of them.
The story was okay. I found the casting out of the protagonist to be interesting and unexpected. Really enjoyed these scenes…
…particularly those of the protagonist contemplating her situation all alone, and being visited by Pokémon.
Looking back as I work on this post, I realize that as much as I grumbled about many aspects of this game, I had enough fun to want to return to really finish it and see its “true” ending. So maybe I will in a couple of weeks.
I also really enjoyed some of the scenes featuring Cyllene, particularly this one:
Very true words. This battle was also very cool as far as visuals!
I needed something completely different as a follow-up, so I started Grow: Song Of The Evertree.
Oh my goodness do I LOVE this game! ✨😭✨ Let me start by saying that I am fed up with so-called “cozy” games. I can only play the same variation of Animal Crossing so many times. There are SO many farming sims and other games of this genre –from Story Of Seasons to Stardew Valley to everything in between. I fully expected Grow: Song Of The Evertree to be a drag, and yet, for some reason, I still bought it.
I find this game’s chores to be different enough, and delightful enough (even the fishing mechanic!) to be completely sold. In addition to the lovely character customization, what really makes this game for me are Book and Copperpot. Here’s Book:
These two have cared for you, the protagonist, since you were a baby.
The atmosphere is so wonderful, everywhere…
There are great side characters to meet and areas to explore:
I’ve only progressed a little so far, but the game is bringing me a lot of joy.
On a less positive note, after all the intense rains and flooding, we found a sunken area in our driveway:
We live in Florida —sinkhole land. So you can imagine seeing anything like that is always scary. I’ve been calling around to have someone come take a look.
In the evening, I went to my mom’s. She’s sick (not COVID, we tested) and she was feeling poorly enough to ask me to cancel our celebratory fancy dinner, which is a big bummer.
But we had our little “picada” as always, though it turned out to be a fondue for dinner.
I played my new video game a little more before calling it a night fairly early. I was very tired.
🌈 Wednesday 🌈
Wednesday my mom and I just relaxed. Natasha had a bad case of bed head in the morning —a reminder of why I don’t sleep with dolls! I combed her hair and she was alright. But I enjoyed cuddling her during the night.
My mom surprised me with a little box full of things she had accumulated for me. Some I don’t really know what to do with, but they all made me smile.
This li’l guy was my favorite (the tiny typewriter is a jewel box I had from before):
Here’s Sweeney being sweet…
And being sweet some more…
My mom made fried potatoes and eggs for dinner. Hers are the BEST!! My favorite childhood meal.
🌈 Thursday 🌈
While out on my morning walk, I passed by a local market, which is about 10 walking minutes from our house, and saw a “Help Wanted” sign for a full-time cashier position. Because my job has been giving me such few hours that it barely counts as employment (I’m talking about 5-9 hours a week) I decided to apply.
The first interview went very well. I was told I’d probably be coming in again to see the owner in the afternoon, but I never received a callback. I kept my fingers crossed, but I was cranky about it.
For lunch, I had a potato and an egg sandwich and kept reading this weird book about wizards:
🌈 Friday 🌈
Still no callback from the market at all on Thursday… I was pretty bummed out about it. It was a stressful day, as the process of finalizing our cruise booking began in earnest, and I was in charge of it. It was finalized by Friday night, sans payment. So, finalized, but kinda-sorta. I can’t emphasize enough how stressful this was! Everything happened so quickly. The cruise is happening in just about one hundred and twenty days.
I was checking the Ring camera, as I do sometimes, and saw the old tomcat that tends to visit our front door area. As I was watching the video in the quiet of the morning, suddenly there was a massive CRASH!!! that seems to come from inside the house. I couldn’t figure out what it was! Take a look (with sound). You’ll notice the tomcat is startled as FRICK and takes off like a bat out of hell:
Later Christopher figured out that this was probably Elliot crashing furiously against the window blinds as the tomcat walked underneath them. What a racket –and what a fright for the marauder! Lol.
On this day I noticed that Buddy had shown up!! In April!
I like to think he’s just trying to watch over me because I’ve been so stressed, and it makes me smile. I wonder how long he will stay.
On this day I also finished this commission for Adri:
🌈 Saturday 🌈
I got up early to cook braised beef on the Crock-Pot for Saturday night’s dinner. In relation to the cruise, this was the most stressful day. The morning involved some very tense discussions about money at home. I found myself crying fifteen minutes before I was slated to go in to work, and pulling myself together was not easy.
Yet, a few minutes after I went in, the atmosphere at work and my coworkers had already perked me up.
I really do enjoy my current job. I love my coworkers, the customers, and the store. If the market calls back eventually, I guess I will be leaving it. But I desperately need more hours, to the point that I’m seeking full-time employment now, after all. So I found myself with a lot of mixed feelings as I worked on Saturday.
Around 5 pm, I took a fifteen-minute break to see if there were any news about the cruise planning… and found a voicemail from the market’s manager!
I figured this meant I had the job… which made the remaining two hours very odd. I still did my best with everything. Getting customers’ emails, helping my coworkers finish some projects… This had actually been the day I felt the most like “one of the team”, no longer a newbie, just, accepted. Fooling around as we worked, everyone doing their best. I felt a lot of sadness thinking that maybe, probably, that would be my last day.
Why couldn’t that place have given me more hours… 😔 But as it stands I’m not even sure the store will survive. [EDITOR’S NOTE: These words will become tragically and hilariously prophetic as will be elaborated on next week’s post.]
I texted the manager at the market during my break as well as called them back when I left work but did not get a response on this day.
I came home around 7 pm. Even though I was tired and a bit down for a bunch of reasons, the evening went well enough. I got some chores done and dinner turned out pretty great.
Here’s some small things I got from work. Candy, primary-colored pacifiers for my stuffed animals, a rainbow plate, and pink “Solo-like” cups (they’re super thick and strong) one for me and one toy-size, for toy photos:
I haven’t made a clip-on stuffie pacifier in like forever. But primary-colored ones were impossible to resist! I gave one to Beanie and one to Tritium. In the end, I didn’t make them into brooch “pin-style” pacifiers. I left them as they were, around their necks.
Here’s a bonus Tomoyo watching us from the couch during dinner:
In the evening I figured I should reinstall the NCL app. The new cruise is already showing up!
🌈 Sunday 🌈
There was no communication from the new job, but it was Sunday after all. Anticipating a potentially busy workweek ahead, I got up early so I could get as much done as possible. I worked a little on the blog, got dressed, showered, did my chores, and then worked on art. Finally, I finished some pieces:
Polenta accompanied me during lunch –leftover pasta with some added radish coins.
On this day I cleaned the snail tank. I have some photos and a video to share, as is often the case on tank cleaning days.
I caught two of the Roman snails going at it. ‘Tis the season!
Afterward, they were spent:
A couple more random cute pics:
We got Jersey Mike’s for dinner, and I got to use my new plate!
And that is it for this week. My goals continue to be on pause. But that’s okay: it is for good reasons. I firmly believe everything will fall into place by the time I am doing an end-of-year wrap-up. 😊 Have a great week, everyone!
This post is about our flight to Seattle and the first day of the cruise. We got up very early, so we would have plenty of extra time if anything should go awry. We got McDonald’s breakfast from the drive-through and drove the two or so hours to Orlando Airport. There we took a shuttle from the parking lot, and in no time at all we were ready to board the first of two flights to Seattle!
Orlando Airport was busy, but everything moved speedily along, no delays, no issues. With that said, we also did not have much time to spare. This was a bit of a bummer, as while we were in the TSA line, I saw the Universal store and almost lost my mind: it was full of Jurassic World stuff! I was unable to go in, but I did have *just* enough time to have my picture taken with this fantastic statue of Blue! It was so cool.
In what seemed a blink of an eye we were on the plane. This was the only time I had a window seat. I really hate flying, the takeoff and landing scares me a lot. So I was definitely apprehensive, and basically crushed our partner’s arm until we were on the air.
On the one hand I was happy because Christopher, our partner and I got to sit together during this flight. That was a big relief for me. But we were also on the very latest seat: we could not recline our seats and we smelled the bathroom all the way to Denver. Still, we were going on a cruise! So we were smiling all the same.
Here are all the pictures I took during the flight:
I bought a little snack at the airport which I shared with my guys:
Our partner was SUPER uncomfortable in his seat, it was so cramped and he was tired. Christopher played on his Switch a lot.
As for me, while I’d brought plenty of things to entertain myself with, I could do none of them. I was too excited (and occasionally scared by the plane). It felt like forever, but eventually, we landed!
To go from the mid 90s to this was mind-blowing…
Next flight –to Seattle! This time my sis in law got the window seat, but I got to sit next to her, and she let Dante look out of the window:
I hadn’t seen my sis in law since Christmas (I think?) and I missed her so much!
Airborne again! Lots of mountain views on this flight.
During the takeoff and landing, it was my sis-in-law’s turn to be crushed by me as I sought comfort. Soon, this flight, too, was over, and we were in Seattle. Mount Rainier in the distance!
After landing in Seattle, we went out to dinner at Olive Garden, and then walked around a really pretty mall. Eventually everyone but our partner and I returned to the hotel. We still had energy so we kept walking, I bought a present for Christopher and a coloring book for myself, and our partner bought macarons for everyone and a really pretty truffle for me that looked like a jewel.
(Seattle was actually VERY hot, which was unusual. This would make our last day in Seattle, on the day of our return, even weirder, because it would be cold as balls then!)
I was up early the next day. I showered and changed into my nautical outfit for the day. At the time I bought this sweater, I felt it was so expensive (over $40) and by this day I had already enjoyed very much the times I wore it. But for this day alone it would have felt worth the money. Not only did I match with Dante, but I got SO many comments on it! I felt very cute.
Everyone was already downstairs having breakfast, except, of course, for my sleepy men. Actually I think my sis-in-law was upstairs in the shower. I’m not sure. This day was a blur.
In no time at all everyone was downstairs, all bags packed, ready to take our shuttle to meet the ship. We were actually super early and did not think we would be able to board yet, just check in. But it turned out leaving ASAP was a great idea because we boarded as soon as we got there.
Anyway here’s Grandma and our partner as we waited for the shuttle. This photo makes me a little sad now. In the photos of this day Grandma still looks happy and energetic, but she would get so sick later during the trip. 😞
Shuttle is here! Off to the dock! The shuttle smelled a bit funny.
I always find docks really cool. Interesting things are happening everywhere and everything feels larger than life.
We saw our ship from really far away. It was so massive!
The closer we got, the more surreal it felt. The ship is a floating city!
I took a couple of photos after our shuttle dropped us off. We gave our luggage to NCL staff and then it was off to check in.
A kind fellow tourist took this photo of us in front of the ship. Like this, it hardly looks like a ship at all. More line an apartment building behind us.
After check-in, we got out room keys! We would use this constantly to get all food and drinks during our stay. It says “welcome back” because our cruise was canceled twice. But it’s actually my first time.
Once we checked in and after a slight delay due to my paperwork (I wasn’t able to get my passport in time) the fact that this was actually happening became real. I pretty much dissolved in tears on my mom in law’s arms after holding all my excitement and worry in for so many months. She cried a bit too. And then we were given our group boarding card and sat to wait!
Very shortly after we were inside. Those moments stepping into the deck are unforgettable for me. What a feeling! And inside, it was so massive and sparkling. This is a brand new, barely used ship, and it showed!
The views of the water were already stunning to me, and we were still docked… I was certainly going to be plenty more stunned, particularly the next morning!
I took lots of pictures as we walked around. I’m sure I looked like a very dumb tourist, clutching my teddy bear, open mouthed and snapping pictures of everything.
Dante loved looking out the windows, too. It was so pretty, even though we were still docked:
In the beginning we sat around waiting a lot, as my mom in law talked to guest services a bunch of times to get some things sorted out. We were also still waiting for our luggage at this time.
Since our rooms were not ready yet, we decided to go have our first meal on the ship!
We ate at The Local Bar & Grill. This was the most lackluster food option aboard, we only ate one meal here. But we didn’t know that when we sat down, and the view from where we sat was great, so I was excited!
Slowly as we ate the ship became busier and busier. Eventually it was announced that everyone was on board, and still, the ship did not feel packed, which was nice.
By the time we were done with our meals, an announcer let us know that our rooms were ready, so we went to check them out.
The rooms were very comfortable and cute. The beds were hard though. But the view from the balcony was amazing!
After checking that we had our luggage and all was good, we decided to meander around the ship. At this time, we were still docked. It was very hot.
They had a model of our ship next to the Garden Cafe. It was very pretty and detailed!
We just kept walking around, snacking, drinking, and sitting in random places. We were relaxing but also waiting very excitedly for the journey to begin.
When it was almost time, we went outside to huge comfortable couches, got fresh drinks, and waited there.
And then we were off! It was time to say goodbye to Seattle and its heat.
Once we were officially at sea, we went directly to dinner.
The restaurant we ate at was called The Manhattan. It was a lovely meal.
There was more sitting and waiting around after dinner. I’m not sure what we were waiting for here. We might have gone to a show on this first night, I can’t recall. We went to many shows during the trip. Magic shows, comedy shows, musicals.
The day began to draw to a close. We were exhausted! For me, this was the prettiest sunset of the trip. Most days sunset and sunrise was kinda weird. Night would usually only last a few short hours and not get too dark. The sun wouldn’t set until 10:00pm and would begin to rise at 3:00am.
It began to cool down pretty fast as the hours went by, and we went to bed to recover and get ready to enjoy our first full day aboard. That’s coming on the next post!